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Ikat from Ndao, Roti Group, Indonesia

290 Roti Group, Ndao

Lafa (shawl)detail  magnifiermicroscope

Origin: Roti Group, Ndao
Period: 1900-1925
Yarn: Cotton, hand-spun, medium
Technique: Warp ikat
Panels: 2
Size: 85 x 169 cm (2' 9" x 5' 6")
Weight: 615 g (21.7 oz), 428 g/m2 (1.40 oz/ft2)
Design: Numerous ikated bands and stripes in parallel, in the direction of the warp. The four widest show human figures with pinched waist and raised hands, similar to that of Devi Sri motifs of Bali and Nusa Penida, and the unidentified human figures of Kisar, Luang and Romang. The hands show three fingers, as do most of the human figures on the South Moluccan islands. The sixteen blocks of anthropomorphic figures are all set off with rows of inward pointing triangles, like inverted tumpal finials. Asymmetric design: of the three morinda red stripes in the midfield, two are on one panel, one on the other.
Comment: Outstanding and very well preserved example of this classic type. Excellent, tight ikat and saturated colours make for clear drawing in sharp contrast. The asymmetric 'Savunese-style' field division is a Ndao hallmark. So is the deep burgundy red. The fine drawing and the high contrast make it very effective in dim lighting - which turns it into a starscape with scintillating constellations. Tightly twisted fringes. From old Dutch collection.
Background: Additional information in chapters on Roti Group and Ndao.
Exhibited: Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, 2017.
Compare: 125 006 008
Literature: Near-identical to pre-1938 Ndao lafa from the Helbig collection in Khan Majlis, Woven Messages, Fig. 237. Very similar to circa 1920 lafa in the Krefeld Textile Museum, published in Völger and Von Welck, Indonesian Textiles, the supplement by Khan Majlis, Fig. 177, though somewhat smaller and with four rather than six main ikated bands. On the Savunese style field division as characteristic of Ndao versus Roti see Fox In Gittinger, Indonesian Textiles, p.48. Below the Helbig example:

Below is Desi Sri as depicted on a breast cloth from Nusa Penida, with a pinched waist and hands turned up to the heavens.

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